Tanaiste says 'reasonable options' still open to Ryanair
TANAISTE Mary Coughlan yesterday insisted the Government was still available to deal with other "reasonable options" to support Ryanair jobs.
She said the airline could be facilitated to use new hangars that will become available at Dublin Airport. And she said the proposal to establish an aircraft maintenance base at either Shannon or Knock airports was still on the table.
But it is now understood that Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary is very close to securing a deal on the jobs with two other European airports.
Ms Coughlan's comments come amid mounting speculation that Ryanair's controversial bid for Hangar 6 is scuppered.
The hangar was made a condition of the airline's offer of guaranteeing 300 new aircraft maintenance positions at Dublin Airport.
But this week Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller stated clearly that his airline would not move out of the hangar.
Yesterday, Ms Coughlan vowed there was still a chance that 300 promised Ryanair jobs could be secured.
"Following from what has been said quite categorically by Aer Lingus, namely that Hangar 6 continues to be of strategic importance to the company, the Government is still open to facilitating Ryanair through the hangars that are available," she told the Dail.
"New hangars are to become available at sites on the airport campus and the proposals by Shannon Development are still on the table."
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore insisted ministerial intervention was now vital in order to secure the jobs.
Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd said Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and the Tanaiste should be drummed out of office over the Ryanair affair.
He said accused Mr Dempsey of being "asleep on the job" -- pointing out that he would not meet with Mr O'Leary to discuss the issue.
"His laissez-faire attitude in the Department of Transport is disgraceful," he said.
Mr Dempsey said Mr O'Dowd was misrepresenting Government's handling of the issue.